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Are there any foods you prefer "as is"?

For me, I prefer my lobster steamed and only with drawn butter and lemon. I think it's a huge waste to use it in compound dishes, or to cream it as in a newburg, and I'd rather have a lobster and a roll than a lobster roll. I strongly prefer any kind of fish roe alone. I love salmon roe. I want my sea urchin fresh from the shell with a spoon, but when I'm desperate, I will order sushi uni and eat the urchin roe alone, then eat the rice. I love top grade sturgeon roe, preferably beluga, but don't like any kind of caviar as a garnish. If it's not good enough to eat alone, it's not good enough to eat in my book. Oh, and avocados. I'd rather have a plain avocado, but will eat guacamole as long as it doesn't have huge chunks of raw onion in it to sit on the avocado flavor. I think that about covers it for me. What kinds of things do you prefer in their pristine form?

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  1. I totally agree with you about the lobster, although I do like a mignonnette sauce on my oysters and raw clams. May I assume that if steaming is considered "as is," so is broiling? I prefer most fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, shad) simply broiled with nothing other than perhaps a squirt of lemon. And I want my lamb chops (assuming they're good ones) simply broiled as well--no marinades, sauces, or seasonings, thanks, not even salt and pepper.

    1. i totally agree about the avocado - a spoon and a little salt is all i need!

      1. Tomatoes and cucumbers fresh off the vine in summer, sitting next to their trellises on the ground with the salt and pepper grinders. Any just caught fish, straight to the pan, with olive oil, salt and pepper or, even better, strung on a skewer and roasted over the fire. Just picked strawberries, still warm from the sun, mmmmmmm

        4 Replies
        1. re: morwen

          A nice sirloin just flame-broiled and medium...

            1. re: morwen

              Those little teardrop tomatoes - candy, I tell you, pure candy.

              1. re: Emme

                oh yeah, grape tomatoes! And if you train them up strings to the eaves beside your porch they make a great sunscreen while you sit, read and munch!

            2. Great topic! There are many, many foods that I prefer to eat as is or in very simple preparations - as long as the main item itself is top quality. I'm with you on the caviar and avocado. Also steaks & roasts with nothing but salt & pepper, grilled fish with just a squeeze of lemon, even salads should be minimally dressed, not smothered with cheese and croutons.

              I have friends who love to cook but seem to think that the more ingredients you throw in, the better the dish. Drives me crazy!

              1. I'm in on the avacado. I slice it and eat it with some salt. I like my lobster with lemon and butter, too. Nothing fancy, nothing exciting.

                Tomatoes, peas off the vine and cucumbers. I eat cucumbers with a little salt, instead of chips.

                1. When you can get wonderful fresh tomatoes, they are great just sliced and put on the table with some salt. Same with fresh corn. Cook quick and eat off the cob, with or without butter. I also like minimally prepared fresh broccoli and Brussels sprouts. And, what is better than a plain cool orange from the fridge in the middle of winter? Or sliced fresh pineapple?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: sueatmo

                    I agree sweet corn is one thing I like with nothing on it. Not even salt and it can be half cooked or raw if it's sweet enough.

                  2. I like Endives like they are, white-ish, bitter-ish, eaten raw, no dressing, no salt or other condiments.

                    1. Fruit!
                      No mucking around with cobblers, pies, dried fruits or purees....i want my banana peeled and that's it. Apples washed and then a crisp crunch when eating :) ok, maybe I will eat my strawberries dipped in chocolate

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: nemis

                        I absolutely prefer oysters as is. It's a perfect food. Just open and eat. It's already seasoned and ready for blissful enjoyment. I'll admit I get somewhat saddened when I see people crushing that delicate, briny flavor with the punch of a cocktail sauce.

                        R. Jason Coulston

                        1. re: nemis

                          Fruit for me, too. I think it is a great travesty to mess with a perfectly ripe plum or apricot, a luscious strawberry, a crisp apple.

                          And fish. I only want it as sashimi, nigiri or, reluctantly, grilled with nothing added but salt and maybe lemon.

                          1. re: nemis

                            A big agreement on the fruit! Don't mess with my farmers market fruit. And that includes tomatoes.
                            Except avacados. I love them and live in avacado land, but they are far better in the form of guacamole (mmmmm guacamole), or in a sandwich or burger.

                            1. re: slacker

                              It's funny; at our house, my Chinese wife eats avocado like a fruit - just a spoon. On the other hand, my favourite prep is stuffed with a crab or lobster salad. Just with they were a little cheaper!

                            2. re: nemis

                              I love, live for, fresh strawberries and can eat a pound at a sitting, but I cannot STAND any strawberry-based desserts- pie, ice cream, I hate strawberry jam, even.

                              1. re: John Manzo

                                I'm with you on that. I prefer fresh strawberries as is, the fresher and juicier the better.

                            3. Turnips, raw, peeled and eaten like an apple. I'm not a real big fan for them cooked. Same for celery too. Oysters, as is. New herring, raw. Lobster w/ a squirt of fresh lime juice. Strawberries, peas, asparagus, cukes and beans fresh from the garden. Fresh picked mushrooms too.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                Asparagus, lightly steamed, not even salt. I could eat a pound in a sitting.

                              2. For me, just about any vegetable is best just lightly steamed or raw (depending on what it is) and plain. No butter, no salt, nothing. Just the veg. Love it!

                                I also like shellfish very simply prepared, a little lemon, maybe some butter, and steaks are absolutely never marinated or flavored (salt and pepper only).

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: lisa13

                                  i concur most veggies but w/ salt pls and well done... and honestly, a little ketchup makes me a happy girl.

                                  lobster claws and king crab legs too... nothing but steamed

                                  and of course costco rotisserie chicken breast

                                2. Oysters. Nothing but a little mignonette sauce. Agree re: the lobster too. Avocado -- my fave prep is on whole wheat toast with a little S&P. And strawberries.

                                  1. Steak should never be ruined with a sauce. Lots of salt is all you need.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: ESNY

                                      amen to that.

                                      i'll also add another vote for fruit, esp. fresh berries...and one for avocado [which, as we all know, IS a fruit].
                                      a quality, fresh, still-warm-from-the-oven NY bagel.
                                      dark chocolate.
                                      fresh fish & sashimi. i'll never understand the appeal of those wacky rolls, or of dunking an entire piece of sushi or sashimi in soy sauce.
                                      oh, and peanut butter - straight from the jar with a spoon.

                                      1. re: ESNY

                                        "Lots"of salt? I don't think so! A temperate amount of good sea salt works for me. But... For really good USDA Prime dry cured beef aged 3 or more weeks, I sear the steak in a frying pan, finish in the oven, remove the steak to rest while I heat the frying pan on the stove with a couple of tablespoons of good cognac, stir up the fond, add about a quarter cup of really good Burgundy or Bordeaux, remove from the heat and add a chunk of butter to thicken and pour over the steak. If I have an inclination towards mushrooms at the moment, they must be morrels. And that "kicks it up a notch" over just plain sea salt any day!

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          This preparation goes a bit beyond "as is", though, wouldn't you agree? I thought we're discussing foods in pretty much their natural, fairly unadulterated state ...

                                          1. re: linguafood

                                            You're absolutely right! Beef just isn't one of the foods I like "as is," and especially not with "lots" of salt! '-)

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              Not even Carpaccio? That's about as "as is" as it gets -- 'cept for tartare I guess. I have to admit to my weakness and affinity for mushroom sauce with beef, though. What a divine combination!

                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                Carpaccio is good... If you hold the sauce! Just salt and pepper. And I love sandwiches made with thin slices of really rare roast beef on bread buttered with the salt free stuff.

                                                Tartare is a looooong way from "as is." Eggs, minced onions, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, capers, lemon juice, evoo, all sorts of things, depending on the recipe. It always reminds me of those old TV commercials... "Where's the beef!"

                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                  True C1. I totally forgot about the fixin's... my mom used to just pop raw beef in her mouth when making meat balls (I know that's not the same as tartare, obviously).

                                                  And really rare roast beef on bread is fantastic. Though I need a hint of horseradish.

                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                    Oooh! Oooh! Oooh! When I have horseradish with roast beef, there HAS to be some Yorkshire pudding lurking near by! '-)

                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                            Lots of salt meaning a liberal salting (poor choice of wording by me). Too often people dont salt their foods enough, you need enough to season the steak without it tasting noticeably salty.

                                            And if you are spending the money on a dry aged prime steak, why cover it in a sauce?

                                            1. re: ESNY

                                              Well, like just about everything else in life, our assosiations with food -- good or bad -- often determine our preferences. For me a prime piece of dry aged beef sauced with a great cognac/red wine sauce brings back a flood of emotions and sense of well being from a time in my life when I was living "over the rainbow." Everybody should have a food that can do that for them! '-)

                                        2. I prefer my fruit to be plain. I'm not into desserts made with fruit, for instance. On a similar note, I prefer my chocolate chips to be cookie- free--just a handful of chocolate chips is heaven.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Blush

                                            Poached eggs - the fresher, the better - with a little salt and pepper.

                                          2. Cucumbers - pickles are a travesty.

                                            1. Bananas. Not only do I prefer them as-is (just peeled), I hate them in any other form or with anything. I won't eat fruit salad with bananas because the banana "slime" gets all over everything.

                                              On the subject of crab, I love simply prepared Dungeness crab, but I hate crab cakes.

                                              1. Steak and Sea Urchin (Although I do enjoy sea urchin on nigiri or in pasta... but something simple for me at most). Also Figs, I'm not a fan of cooked figs.

                                                1. Hot Dogs

                                                  Was always a mustard/mayo and raw onions gal until condiment hating boyfriend got me eating them plain. If you have great buns (Sara Lee Whole Grain White) and great hot dogs (prefer anything Hebrew National) and they're pan grilled or barbequed, you really don't need toppings.

                                                  1. Fresh baked sourdough bread

                                                    Baked Japanese sweet potatoes

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      Another favorite - fresh radishes when pulled right out of the ground. So crunchy, so peppery -- ummmm

                                                      1. re: aurora50

                                                        I just keep looking out the back of our house at our garden covered w/ 3 feet of snow and feel good the garden is hibernating, just waiting for another mad growth spurt this summer!

                                                    2. Anything grilled. I can live without barbecue sauce.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: mrsfury

                                                        Oysters and clams hot off the grill and slurped down. Yum.

                                                      2. 1. Boil egg in water until the white is set but the yoke is semi-runny. Take it out of boiling water right away, and soak boiled eggs in cold water to stop cooking for a minute. Pick up the egg and shell. While the egg is still hot, dip it with just a bit of good soy sauce. Finish it with no more than 3 bites (don't let any runny yoke escape - IMO it's the best part!)

                                                        2. Boil chicken (dark meat in particular) or pork meat (pork belly and tenderloin) in water until it's just cooked (overcooking would ruin the meat). Dip the meat in garlic soy sauce and serve with steamed sticky/sushi rice - heaven!

                                                        1. Has anybody mentioned roast chicken? I don't do much of anything to it except, you know, cook it.

                                                          I forget the context, but years ago my sister, my dad, and I confessed that we all love cold, boiled potatoes with nothing on them. We all used to sneak them out of the fridge whenever there were leftovers. In general, I like my potatoes very plain. Sometimes we get organic Idaho potatoes that are incredible, baked, with nothing on them -- no salt, no butter. I like the waxy type either boiled or roasted with a little olive oil.

                                                          Almonds, walnuts, pecans -- plain, either raw or roasted. And whoever said peanut butter on a spoon, that's my favorite way to eat it, too. Even if I'm going to make a sandwich, half of it goes into my mouth before it gets to the bread.

                                                          And yes, fresh fruit, raw crisp vegetables, tomatoes.

                                                          1. Raspberries are unimprovable. They are at their best eaten right out of the box, or if possible, off the bush.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: mordacity

                                                              haha, I'm with you! also european blackberries, reminds me of vacation when we were little, just pick them from the bush.....
                                                              also avocado here!

                                                              1. re: mordacity

                                                                My perfect summer afternoon - spent in a chaise reading next to my black raspberry bushes. The most I want to move is to grab another handful! They are perfectly heavenly. I will sometimes save a few for eating over vanilla ice cream, but mainly they go from the bush ino my mouth.

                                                                1. re: Catskillgirl

                                                                  Do you wear thorn proof gloves? '-)

                                                                  Remembering childhood.

                                                              2. Fresh, whole flounder, simply broiled with a little lemon and butter.

                                                                Sliced pork tenderloin fried in a little oil.

                                                                1. I agree with many others who've posted already. For the most part, I prefer fruits and veggies as is. I like sweet potatoes baked and plain, no butter or brown sugar. I prefer steak cooked to medium, no gloppy sauces please, S&P pre-grill will suffice.